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Former president can leave Sierra Leone amid Nigeria exile rumours

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A former Sierra Leonean president has been granted permission to travel abroad on medical grounds despite facing treason charges.

The High Court ruling comes amid speculation that Ernest Bai Koroma has agreed to go into exile in Nigeria if charges against him were dropped.

He was accused of treason and other offences over a failed coup last November, in which some 20 people died.

Mr Koroma, who ruled between 2007 and 2018, denies these allegations.

A court order seen by the BBC on Wednesday shows Mr Koroma is allowed to travel to Nigeria for medical reasons.

The order stipulates that he must not stay there for more than three months and that he must appear before a Sierra Leonean magistrates court on 6 March.

During last year’s attack, gunmen broke into a military armoury and several prisons in capital city Freetown, freeing almost 2,000 inmates.

The government described it as an attempted coup and earlier this month, Mr Koroma was charged alongside 12 others suspects.

There has been significant speculation that Ecowas, a bloc of West African countries, had brokered a deal for Mr Koroma to go into exile in Nigeria if the charges were dropped.

The BBC has seen a letter saying Mr Koroma had agreed to the deal.

However, Sierra Leone Foreign Minster Timothy Kabba previously told the BBC the government did not support the proposal, which he described as a “unilateral proposition” by the president of the Ecowas Commission.

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Source: BBC

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